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Abstract

Many limited-resource rural families in South Carolina have control over small tracts of land. They are unable to receive full benefits from this land because of the lack of appropriate farm equipment and an overall shortage of capital. Several studies have shown that the limited-resource farmers can increase their incomes through proper planning and better utilization of available resources. This study was conducted to examine the present input efforts of small farmers in South Carolina and to examine their potential with an intent of developing an efficient small farm model. The study area included five counties in the Southern Coastal Plains area of South Carolina. Five hundred limited-resource farmers were interviewed to get the data for this study. On the basis of the survey data, a clear profile of a limited-resource farmer is established. It indicates that a limited-resource farmer generally has about 20 acres of land or less, farms mostly by himself, does not have sufficient family labor and is reluctant to hire any, does not have adequate machinery and equipment, consumes most of the farm produce at home, and does not use production credit. This study established a need for a demonstration farm to apprise the limited-resource farmers of the modern methods of farming which are most suitable for them. This study also recommends the use of paraprofessionals as agricultural science assistants to work exclusively with the limited-resource farmers on an individual basis. The demonstration farm, coupled with the individualized paraprofessional program, could prove to be quite profitable for the limited-resource farmers.

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